It is Spring on the Palouse. What that means is that the winter wheat is up about 2 inches. There is a fine sheen of green velvet on the hills. The snow is melting. Creeks and small drainages are full of brown water. I was able to hike the entirety of Headwaters Trail. Ice, some snow, downed trees….but passable with running shoes that just wanted to dance. Spring on the Palouse also meant that my hands got cold when I was not running. It was below freezing when I got up this morning. No snow in the back yard, freezing temps….all that dog poop exposed. I should have cleaned the back yard. But…I slept in. John and I made a nice breakfast. We woke the teenaged boy with bacon and cinnamon rolls.
I dislike yard work. For years, I wished that my back yard ended about 75 yards short of where it does. Too much yard. Too much grass. I despise mowing. I lived with 2 boys with grass allergies. I replanted as much as I could afford with trees, bushes, any plant someone gave me. I learned what was invasive…and I embraced some of that. I dug out plum by the roots. I gave up and created an 8 foot buffer of compost to keep it at bay. Jim built trail on Moscow Mountain. He did not do yard work. I planted a backyard vegetable garden. Over time, it has become a home to a giant rhubarb plant. What is leftover is committed to basil for pesto, a few other veggies and a wishful attempt at tomatoes. I have raspberries to die for, but the strawberries keep getting dug up by the dog. Fruit trees that mostly produce compost…but one year a cherry crop that was bountiful enough to create cherry liquor. If it creates something I can eat, I love my backyard. But mostly, I still despise yard work.
By afternoon today, it was above freezing. Still gray, but warm enough that all that dog poop had thawed. When Jim was dying, I had heaps of help. I had truckloads of bark that appeared in my driveway, and lots of people to help me spread it. Someone even helped me pick up dog poop. I am past that now. My widow card has expired. It is my yard, my dog, my poop. And all the yard work that should have gotten done last Fall…was still there. John offered to help. I am not stupid…I said, “sure.” In less than a third of the time it would have taken me alone, the dog poop was gone, the perennials were cut back, the raspberries cleaned up, and the compost dug back from the emerging rhubarb. Carrots that had overwintered were discovered….with a verbal appreciation of Spring.
While we were out doing yard work, John received a message from our other friend, Jon. “Epic powder day at Lost Trail.” Spring on the Palouse means there is still great snow in the high country. John held a rake in his hands, while his friend was skiing powder. Next weekend, I will join John, and Emerald, and Jon for 4 days of back country skiing in the high country of Montana. The snow will be deep, the company soul filling, the crowds non-existent. I will spend a final weekend day in Missoula. I will help John pick up his thawed dog poop, and convince him that edibles can be wonderful yard plants. My widow card has expired, and I am in debt to the world that filled it. I….am….the luckiest girl in the universe.